CBI Interviews Offer In-Depth Insights and Reveal Disparities

Sachit Kumar, Managing Director of Globe Detective Agency (GDA), believes personal interviews are an important additional step in the due diligence process and help to paint a clearer picture.

In 2023, Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) units integrated personal interviews into their application process. This strategic decision followed discussions between representatives from the United States and the Caribbean nations, aimed at standardising practices for CBI pathways. In conversation with the IM Yearbook, Sachit Kumar emphasises the significance of personal interviews in the due diligence process, considering them to be a crucial step in gaining comprehensive insights. GDA, with a network of vetted associates in over 60 countries and offices in India and the UK, promptly adapted to the new requirement by initiating virtual interviews for the Caribbean CBI programmes.

Navigating Discrepancies

During these interviews, Kumar has noted instances where applicants’ answers significantly differ from the information provided in their initial applications. “This underscores the invaluable nature of personal interviews in revealing nuances that may not surface through traditional documentation,” he states.

While discrepancies in information may raise concerns, Kumar is quick to point out that they are not always indicative of intentional deception. He suggests another plausible scenario where agents may complete specific sections of the application on behalf of clients, unintentionally leading to inconsistencies. “Therefore, to ensure a transparent and accurate assessment, agents are not to be present during interviews,” he says.

Applicants can schedule interviews at times and in languages that suit their preferences and availability. The interview starts with an identity verification through facial comparison, thereby ensuring that the provided photograph aligns accurately with the individual’s face and passport details. Lasting between 30 minutes and one hour, the interview then progresses to cover various aspects of the applicant’s personal history, family details and even sources of funds.

Challenging Questions

Some of the more challenging questions during the interview process involve critical enquiries aimed at verifying the accuracy of the provided information. “For instance, applicants may be asked about the precise location of their residence. We had instances where the applicants house couldn’t be located by our on-ground associates,” says Kumar.

Addressing the legitimacy of employment is another complex area. “In some cases, applicants provided fictitious employment details, such as a non-existent workplace or a dissolved company. Consequently, they may be asked directly about their work status, followed by a request for the precise address of their purported place of employment,” Kumar explains.

“These discrepancies may not always be deliberate; variations or incompleteness can also contribute to the need for clarification. In Iraq, for example, house numbers are sometimes not displayed, making it difficult to locate a residence” says Kumar.

Delving deeper into the legal realm, applicants are then queried about any ongoing or past litigation. This line of questioning aims to ensure a thorough understanding of any civil or criminal cases associated with the applicants. “Despite initial denials wherein applicants claimed no involvement in legal matters, we had to clarify with them specific cases previously uncovered by our investigative professionals,” Kumar says.

Post-interview, GDA provides the CBI unit with a detailed transcript and a recording of the interview, ensuring transparency and accountability in the assessment process. Additional information furnished is also verified and an updated report is submitted to the CBI unit.

Advocating Standardisation

“I believe it’s crucial for all investment migration routes to adhere to stringent reporting standards and be governed by uniform guidelines,” he emphasises. Rigorous and dependable due diligence, he argues, ensures that CBI remains a valuable and legitimate tool for attracting investment and fostering economic growth.

Having a thorough due diligence process validates the integrity of a country’s citizenship programme, and, most importantly, shapes the perceptions of that country in the eyes of the international market. “Not only is a country’s reputation important in shaping its diplomatic relations with other nations but is also ultimately a factor in determining the ‘strength’ of its passport,” Kumar says. In light of this, he concludes that strengthening the due diligence process through interviews should be a collective pursuit, embraced by all nations involved in investment migration.

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